JUST before the Holy Week break, SunStar Cebu had the chance to interview American folk rocker Vincent Bernardy, who is in Cebu for a vacation. He will be here until Thursday.
Here is the second part of the question-and-answer session with the 51-year-old singer-songwriter who has been around the world for the love of music.
What is music for you?
To me, music is universal—like you don’t have to know the language. There’s a feeling that comes through music: it can be happy, sad or angry. So as a songwriter, I try to create a feeling in the music.
What other musical instruments do you play?
I can play drums. Actually, I play drums in a lot of my tracks. I play bass and some keyboards but I write and make all my parts to the songs. I have a band when I play out live in my country but I do a lot of solo shows with my acoustic.
Do you have a ritual when you write your songs?
No, not really. Songs come to me in different ways. Sometimes I get a melody of something and then write songs or write words to that. Sometimes a song takes a year or something, but most of my songs come pretty quickly. There’s no ritual really. I think the best songs come the easiest.
...There are different ways to structure songs. A song has three parts: it has a verse; a chorus, which I often call the hook and you repeat that two or three times; and then there’s the bridge, which is a break from those two parts. I write music more from an intuitive place and a thinking place. I have to feel it when I make music.
You mentioned finding gold while writing songs. What do you mean by that?
You know when you’ve done something and it feels right? That’s what gold to me is. I’d like to sell millions of albums but I haven’t. I’ve had millions and millions of streams on Spotify, which is a lot of visits for a very cheap amount. So when I say gold, what I mean is taking nothing and making it into something from the beginning to the end. So you do it for the love of it. So for me, just finishing something is gold. And if they hear something and like it, that’s beautiful to me because you are sharing something that God gave you to give.
What are some of your biggest gigs to date?
I have opened for Green Day in St. Paul in Minnesota. This was right before they got really famous. I’ve worked with Mark Brown from Prince & the Revolution and recently toured with Rumer. I also co-wrote and performed on her new album Into Colour the song Pizza and Pinball.
I used to drink beer with Bob Stinson, who started the band The Replacements, which was pretty huge in our country. I got to open for Rumer and Paul Pascal, who was Madonna’s guitar player. He was my roommate for two weeks when he did music with Steve Winwood, Mariah Carey and other famous people.
Steven Bishop also told me when he heard me play and sing during my tour with Rumer: “You are a very good guitar player.” That made me feel good.
What are some of your musical achievements?
I’ve also worked with Jade Jackson, who is 20 years old, and now signed with a pretty big label. She writes her own songs.
My album Moonlight Dream Bed received five awards including number one album of the year and number one song of the year. It features guest singers Rumer and Jade Jackson. Acoustic Chocolate Songs Vol. 2 has received an award for Jump in My Car. My cover of I Can’t Make You Love Me also has millions of streams on Spotify.